Acne is an extremely common skin condition that affects many teenagers and some adults. About 85 percent of people will develop it at some point. There are different types of acne, and they can all leave acne scarring.
Types of Pimples
A comedone is a hair follicle clogged with dead skin cells and oil, and can become either a blackhead or whitehead. A blackhead is open at the skin’s surface while a whitehead is closed.
A papule is an inflamed whitehead or blackhead. It can become red or pink, and may be sensitive to the touch. A pustule is another type of inflamed pimple that looks like a whitehead surrounded by a red ring. It is typically filled with pus.
Nodules are large and inflamed bumps that develop deep within the skin. They feel firm and can be painful. A cyst looks like a boil and is full of pus. It can also be painful. Both nodules and cysts require a dermatologist’s attention.
Grades of Acne
A patient has mild acne if they have no more than 30 pimples in total, with no more than 20 being comedones and no more than 15 being papules or pustules. Mild acne can be treated with over-the-counter medication, but it can take several weeks.
In moderate acne, the patient has 30 to 125 pimples, with 20 to 100 being whiteheads or blackheads and 15 to 50 being inflamed bumps. Moderate acne generally needs prescription medication, and it can take several weeks.
In severe acne, the patient has many inflamed nodules and cysts that might turn deep purple or red. This is the type of acne that is most likely to scar, and it, therefore, requires a dermatologist’s prompt attention.
Acne conglobotta is a particularly severe form of acne in which the many nodules are connected to each other under the skin. This type of acne also requires a dermatologist’s prompt attention to prevent scarring.
Preventing Acne Scarring
The best way to prevent acne scarring is to treat the acne as soon as it develops. Waiting to see if it will go away on its own will only let it get worse. Prompt treatment will prevent mild acne from developing into a more severe form.
Acne patients should avoid anything that might irritate or inflame the skin, as that will make the acne worse. Thus, people should avoid stringent skin care products, aggressive scrubbing and popping or picking at pimples. The last is especially bad for acne. Picking at a pimple forces the oil and dead cells within it deeper into the follicle and thus spread infection. It can make the blemish worse, and increase both the healing time and the chances of developing a scar.
Certain dietary and lifestyle changes can decrease a person’s chances of developing acne in the first place. Washing the face at least twice a day with a gentle soap removes the oils and dead skin cells that cause acne in the first place. Good health habits like drinking eight glasses of water and not smoking can help the healing process.
One of the very best ways to prevent acne scarring is to seek the medical expertise of a skilled dermatologist. With locations in Elmhurst, Flushing, Englewood and the Bronx, Metro Dermatology’s team of highly qualified dermatologists is committed to helping patients prevent and treat acne scarring. Contact us today to schedule your appointment to learn more about acne scar prevention and treatment options.